Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The famiLEE feud: Will House Debate clear the air?

Update 2 Jul 2017: Lim Tean - PM Lee must sue for defamation to clear his name else President needs to convene an independent Commission of Inquiry
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Adding to the chorus of voices denouncing the Prime Minister for choosing Parliament to defend himself, Lim Tean, a veteran lawyer and recent politician, has called for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sue his two siblings for defamation over the allegations that they have been unleashing against him over the past two weeks. He also calls for the President to convene an independent commission of inquiry, should the PM refuse to raise the matter in the court.

Citing his experience as a practising lawyer in Singapore for 17 years, he highlights the point that in order to get at the truth, all the relevant parties, accusers and accused must be subject to cross-examination by counsel and all the evidence must be before the Commission and Parliamentary questions cannot take the place of cross-examination.

He wrote, "I see that for the Parliamentary session on 3 July , MPs have to file their questions in advance and we already know the questions which  the Worker’s Party MPs will ask. This might be alright for normal parliamentary sittings but not when the truth has to be discovered. It is like a student being given the exam papers days before the exam. There will also be limited time for follow-up questions on 3 July and none of the MPs except for maybe the Prime Minister himself will have the full facts before them to come to a proper decision."

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Tan Jee Say to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of The Republic of Singapore

As President, you have the specific duty of safeguarding the integrity of the public service, and it is incumbent on you to get to the bottom of all this, to establish the facts and if true, hold those responsible fully accountable and put into place means and measures to ensure that no one can abuse his or her public position for private gain without the most severe punishment meted out to him or her.

As this is a matter of grave public concern, it is absolutely vital that you direct this inquiry to be conducted by way of open public hearings so as to ensure public confidence that nothing will be swept under the carpet and that every relevant detail will be examined.

This issue is of extreme urgency and the inquiry should be conducted soonest possible. As this matter takes place under your watch, you cannot simply pass the buck to the next President as you still have more than two months left of your presidential term of office. A period of two months is more than sufficient for this inquiry to be conducted and completed in good order as our public service is well-known for its efficiency.


Tan Jee Say: “Dear Prime Minister, please think of Country, Family, Colleagues, and resign now”
Former civil servant and Secretary-General of SingFirst, Tan Jee Say has written an open letter to the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, asking for his resignation. Citing five reasons why PM Lee should resign, Mr Tan made a plea to PM Lee to think of his country, family and colleagues and to step down as the Prime Minister

"Dear Prime Minister, please think of Country, Family, Colleagues, and resign now" - I know, along with many Singaporeans, that you must be feeling very troubled these two and a half weeks. But we also know that you are a man with a very strong will. As you told Singaporeans at a rally during the 2015 General Election, "Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him or give it up."

But giving up does not necessarily mean weakness in a person if it is done for noble reasons that are for the greater good of society. In view of what had happened between you and your siblings in the last few years that exploded in full public view only recently, I would like to make this plea to you, "Dear Prime Minister, please think of your Country, Family and Colleagues, and resign from the premiership now!" Here are my 5 reasons :
  • You have become a liability to the nation.
  • Your priorities are misplaced.
  • You had not been in the best of health.
  • Not being PM can be positive for your children.
  • Several of your ministerial colleagues have been dragged into the dispute.

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Dr Tan Cheng Bock 1 hr

Parliament is not the right place to settle family disputes. It is an institution to make laws and debate national issues.

Family disputes should be settled in courts. In parliament MPs have no details of the case and only hear PM telling his side of the case.

Wrong platform.

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Tan Cheng Bock slams choice of Parliament as venue to settle Lee family dispute


Ex-PAP member of parliament and presidential hopeful Tan Cheng Bock has hit out at the choice of using Parliament as the venue for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to shed light and clarify issues related to the Lee family feud.

Tan’s opposition lies with the fact that going to court would allow all sides to be heard, whereas in parliament, MPs cannot ask the right questions without the full facts on hand.

Tan, who was the MP for Ayer Rajah, was known to speak out in the past and for his independent take on issues. In May 1992, he was the sole voice of dissent as he said “no” when the House debated whether it should have Nominated MPs, on the rare occasion the Party Whip was lifted.

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Tan Cheng Bock: Parliament is not the right place to settle family disputes

Dr Tan Cheng Bock, former People's Action Party Member of Parliament has voiced out on the Lee family saga on his Facebook page, writing the Parliament is not the right place to settle family disputes.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has earlier made a public statement on Monday evening (19 June) to apologise for the dispute between him and his siblings, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

Apart from apologising for the matter, he said that he will make a ministerial statement in Parliament to refute the allegations made against him and will subject himself to questioning by the Members of Parliament on 3 July with party whip lifted for his party.

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Tan Cheng Bock slams airing of Oxley-squabble in Parliament as ‘Wrong Choice’

Candidate for the 2011 Presidential Election, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, has slammed the Prime Minister’s statement that he intends to clear the accusations levelled at him by his siblings in Parliament on 3rd July. Dr Tan pointed out that the matter should be settled in Court because, except for PM Lee, no other Member of Parliament may have all the details of the case.

Dr Tan is the second Presidential candidate from the 2011 election to slam PM Lee’s choice to refute his siblings’ allegations about him in Parliament. Mr Tan Jee Say too had earlier suggested that Parliament is the wrong forum to address the allegations.

Dr Tan may have a vested interest in calling for the accusations against PM Lee to be addressed in Court. He is challenging the Attorney-General’s interpretation that Wee Kim Wee (not Ong Teng Cheong) should be counted as the first Elected President of Singapore, in Court. The Government accepted the A-G’s interpretation in making the 2017 Presidential Election a reserved one.

related: Parliament as a forum to address Oxley-squabble questioned

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TAN CHENG BOCK CRITICIZES PM LEE'S DECISION TO AIR DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PARLIAMENT

Presidential hopeful Mr Tan Cheng Bock has issued his own statement on the embarrassing Lee family feud over the late Lee Kuan Yew’s 38 Oxley Road home.

He criticized Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for airing his family’s private family dispute in parliament, which is meant for debates about national laws, and argued that parliamentary members would not have details of his family’s private affairs and so the session would just be a platform for PM Lee to narrate his own version of events.

related: LEE FAMILY SPAT: HO CHING INSTRUCTED SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS WHEN SHE HAS NO OFFICIAL POSITION IN GOVT

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PM MUST CONVENE OFFICIAL INQUIRY, NOT JUST PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE

The matter of PM Lee Hsien Loong's dispute with his siblings should be heard by a properly convened Commission of Inquiry (COI) rather than be debated in Parliament.

The SDP stated in our media release (15 June 2017) that “PM Lee must address the specific allegations of public concern in a clear and transparent manner. The only way that this can be satisfactorily done is through public hearings.”

Given that the PM is at the centre of the controversy, Parliament is hardly the appropriate forum to conduct an inquiry that will win public confidence in a matter of such national importance.

related: LEE HSIEN LOONG MUST ADDRESS ACCUSATIONS BY SIBLINGS THAT ARE OF PUBLIC CONCERN

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Parliament not appropriate forum for matter of national importance, COI needs to be called

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a statement to urge Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to convene a Commission of Inquiry on the ongoing dispute between him and his siblings, Dr Lee Weiling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang instead of having the matter debated in Parliament.

The party states that the Parliament is hardly the appropriate forum to conduct an inquiry that will win public confidence in a matter of such national importance.

Highlighting the seriousness of the charges and counter-charges made by those involved – including cabinet ministers – and the grave implications the allegations hold for the future of Singapore, the party urges the PM to call for a forum that is beyond reproach in its service of truth and fairness.

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Parliament as a forum to address Oxley-squabble questioned

Mr Tan Jee Say in the meantime has suggested that Parliament may not be the right forum to address the accusations levelled at the Prime Minister.

In a WhatsApp message he said that only Dr Lee Wei Ling, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Mrs Lee Suet Fern can effectively reply to the Prime Minister because only they have all the facts and the documentary evidence on the matter. He pointed out that being non-Parliamentarians, they cannot reply to the Prime Minister and the others, and that this would be grossly unfair to them.

Mr Tan said that the law also allows a Parliamentarian to be protected from whatever he said in Parliament from defamation lawsuits. This meant that a Parliamentarian can call anyone a liar and not be sued for it. He believes that it is better to have an independent public inquiry that is televised live.

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Workers’ Party call for a Select Committee to be convened for FamiLee Saga

The Workers’ Party has called for a Select Committee to be convened to look into the whole FamiLee saga.

WP MP for Aljunied GRC Pritam made the post earlier this evening. Here’s a summary:
  • Parliament can appoint a select committee – made up of MPs – to look into issues. The select committee has the authority to call for evidence and summon witness for cross examination if necessary.
  • While PM Lee has announced that he has lifted the PAP party whip for a rigorous debate in Parliaent come 3 July, Lee Hsien Yang’s and Lee Wei Ling’s voices will be missing. The public will only hear one side of the story.
  • To be fair to Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling, they should be allowed to tell their side of the story in Parliament too.
  • The select committee then has the power to call upon anyone, including PM Lee Hsien Loong himself, to get to the bottom of the allegations regarding an abuse of power.
Exciting developments if this comes true. And I don’t see why the government shouldn’t convene a Select Committee to get to the bottom of this, since these allegations are a matter of grave public interest.

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Pritam Singh Yesterday at 06:33

Some Singaporeans have asked about Parliamentary Select Committees. What are they?

Parliament hosts powers to appoint Select Committees of MPs to look at issues in depth, including calling for evidence and summoning witnesses if necessary. My WP colleagues and I have filed a number of parliamentary questions that relate to allegations of the Prime Minister abusing his powers in the matter of 38, Oxley Road. The Prime Minister has announced he will make a statement in Parliament and welcomes vigourous debate. There is one problem though. Unlike the Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and those who support him will have no opportunity to clear the air on 3 July 2017.

In the interests of fairness, Mr Lee should be allowed to tell his story to Parliament too. A Select Committee would allow MPs the opportunity to call up any witness, including the Prime Minister or anyone else to get to the truth of the matter behind the allegations of abuse of power.

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Singapore MPs must be tough in questioning PM Lee about family feud on 3 July

For that to happen, the MPs must:
  • IMAGINE that the 3 July sitting is happening in a court room, not a law-making chamber, and they are there as lawyers and representatives of the people, not lawmakers or party affiliates.
  • TELL yourself that you are responsible only to Singaporeans and by extension to Singapore.
  • DON’T make speeches, there is very little time for that. Instead, ask questions. Make the questions snappy and pointed.
  • REMEMBER to ask follow-up questions after the PM and his ministers have replied. The best responses come when you follow up with a question if you feel the PM or the ministers have not responded adequately or have given only half-answers. Spend some time watching how BBC and CNN journalists perform when they interview newsmakers.
Here is a sampling of the questions that can be asked:
  • Did you abuse your power? He is likely to say No. Jump in by asking pointedly: Is it true that you wanted the house preserved against Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s wishes for your own political gain? I know you have denied this accusation, but can you be more specific?
  • Why did your wife take items from the home without seeking the executors’ permission and why did she send them to the National Heritage Board under the name of Prime Minister’s Office? Isn’t this something she should not have done?
  • Can you tell us the circumstances under which Lucien Wong, who acted for you in the property dispute, was made the AG? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?
  • You said the accusations from your siblings are “mostly inaccurate”, which means some are accurate. What are these?
It is not just PM Lee and his siblings who are on trial. Singapore is also on trial. Now that the people and the country have been put through this harrowing experience, they need answers. They need closure. The burden is on the MPs to get to the truth. That is the least they can do for the nation.

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Shadow Boxing in Parliament on 3 July 2017?

Many people have questioned that little “wisdom” of PM Lee wanting to bring “petty family squabbles” to Parliament while they claim they have more important things to do other than this petty little FamiLee squabbles.

For those with sharp eyes and minds, you will notice that the judgement has been cast upon the PM’s siblings for “bringing shame” to Singapore by bringing this “petty family squabbles” up to the public sphere. There are some important questions asked about this impending show coming to Parliament House on 3 Jul 2017:
  • How could one ever have a JUST and FAIR National Hearing when this “petty family squabble” is to be discussed in Parliament House with the ABSENCE of the key players, LWL and LHY?
  • Without such Fair and Just hearing granted to BOTH sides, how could this matter be “clarified” and “settled”?
  • The Prime Minister and his Ministers have FULL parliamentary immunity when they speak in parliament. i.e. they could basically say anything defamatory of LHY, LWL or LSF in their bid to justify their stance but those defamed by them, have absolutely no means to address such defamation, if any! How could such hearing or debate in Parliament be fair to PM’s siblings? Won’t such move worsen or even justify LHY and LWL’s accusation that their brother is making use of state organs to get what he wants?
  • Why would the PAP Party Whip matters at all if it is just a session whereby the PM makes clarifications while MPs ask follow up questions? Does it mean that PAP MPs have always been put on a leash in normal parliamentary sitting whereby their party whips disallow them to ask sharp questions which are deemed hurting to the party or the Cabinet?
  • We all know that the Parliament is dominated by PAP Ministers and MPs. How could it even be “convincing” to anybody, lest foreigners that this is a FAIR and JUST place for the matter to be settled?
As Alex Au has put it simply, there is great conflict of interests here because keeping the house as a monument of LKY will also bolster PAP’s political capital as a whole and therefore, all those PAP Ministers and MPs sitting in that Parliament House will not be expected to be critical on PM at all! Having considering all these, all I can say that we will only be expecting a Shadow Boxing @ Parliament on 3 July 2017… the biggest wayang show in the making which waste public resources, parliament time and effort for achieving absolutely NOTHING in return.

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3rd July Parlimentary Q&A just another wayang

PM said he’ll lift the whip only for the upcoming Parliament session on 3 Jul and furthermore, asked all MPs to be sure of raising any and all queries on BEHALF of their constituents. Problem is, how are the various MPs going to know what to ask Cabinet if there’s been no Public Consultation Exercises similar to the one held for the Our Singapore Conversation with all Citizens?

In actual fact, the government has never consulted us most of the time but still use “public interest” to justify their varying degrees of action. In Mountbatten where I live, we were never consulted when Lim Biow Chuan made the decision for us to allow demolition of the Dakota Crescent flats which are of National Significance. These flats were built even before the Lim Yew Hock government and are steeped in historical value. Denise Phua has also never consulted her residents when she gave the go ahead to then MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan to demolish the Rochor Rd friendster flats and the Sungei Rd Market under her watch. Hence, it’s just going to be another lame duck session of Parliament where questions will mostly be shaped by the LAs and AAs of the MPs! In that case, what’s the point of voting for these people elections after elections if their loyalty is only to a select few while deriving their ultimate power from us? Have they deliberately forgotten they are the servants while we are their real taskmasters?

And how can we possibly hold a session devoid of the presence of the accusers so to speak, where they will have no chance of defending themselves to any counter accusations the PAP government may label against them? Can they then speak through the non PAP MPs in the House to defend them? In any case, this is a criminal defamation motion and the proper channel to address these issues will be through a Judicial system where the Plaintiffs and Defendants can appoint a Counsel of their choice even if it’s a QC from London!

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Lee Hsien Yang & Lee Wei Ling should see their MPs before July 3 Parliament
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday, June 19, he would make a Ministerial Statement in Parliament on July 3 to refute the charges made by his siblings in the ongoing Lee family feud

We have pointed out before that PM Lee’s choice of Parliament as the platform to air the issues concerning the fate of the late Lee Kuan Yew’s house at 38 Oxley Road is a masterstroke in keeping his siblings out of the debate.

As private citizens, both Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling will not be allowed to personally participate in Parliament. So, what is their best recourse now, apart from posting their side of the feud via Facebook?

Well, to share their grievances and concerns with their respective Members of Parliament (MPs) in hopes of the MPs raising the same concerns in the July 3 sitting, of course.

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Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong is on the back foot


Why is parliament being dragged into this? This is a fight to be settled in a court of law or during an open inquiry, said former ruling People's Action Party (PAP) MP Tan Cheng Bock, who is challenging the government on the holding of presidential elections in September.

Will MPs stand up for Singapore and ask their boss difficult and probing questions? Rigorous questioning of power is not in the Singaporean psyche in parliament or out. With a lopsided chamber packed with government lawmakers and just a tiny sprinkling of opposition members, who are often shouted down by their PAP colleagues, a decisive debate is unlikely.

What's the point when the chief accusers won't be taking part? Both Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling won't be in parliament to answer questions or respond to points being made. The siblings' strategy so far has been to post revelations and accusations on social media from overseas. It looks like they are still holding some cards close to their chest to be revealed later in order to keep the pot boiling.

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Singapore’s Establishment Tries to Wrest Back Control of Lee Family Feud

In his statement, Lee Hsien Loong referred to the making of a Ministerial Statement. The relevant section of the Standing Orders of Singapore’s Parliament states that “[a] statement may be made by a Minister in Parliament on a matter of public importance. Members may seek clarification on the statement but no debate shall be allowed thereon.”

Questions have been sent to both the Prime Minister’s Office and the People’s Action Party to find out if the prime minister will be making such a Ministerial Statement, after which no debate will be allowed, or if motions will be filed to allow for a discussion that goes beyond seeking clarification. The News Lens has not yet received a response.

It’s a stretch to imagine that PAP MPs will hold their own leaders’ feet over the fire when the allegations are so damaging, not just to Lee Hsien Loong personally, but to the government and the party as a whole. If no debate is allowed on July 3, the parliamentary session will run the risk of being interpreted as little more than political theatre, and yet another move by the establishment to yank this whole episode on to their own playing field.

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The Parliamentary Sitting On 3rd July Won’t Solve The Lee Family Dispute
All eyes will be on Parliament this coming Monday (July 3) What About LHY And LWL?

But wait, doesn’t something just feel off about the Parliamentary Sitting? It’s common knowledge that the family dispute largely revolves around the 3 Lee siblings — so shouldn’t LHY and Dr LWL be in the thick of things when discussions are under way?

One may argue that this is a Parliamentary Meeting and as such only the government officials have the right to partake in the assembly. But just think about it for a moment — PM Lee wants to refute allegations of his abuse of power, yet the two people whom have accused him of it will not be present. Wouldn’t that make for a very one-sided and potentially biased discussion? How will the sibling duo defend themselves when allegations are made against them, or clarify things in the event that inaccurate information is presented.

Furthermore, LHY and Dr LWL are aware of all the nitty-gritty aspects of the case that we outsiders are not aware of. They are the ones whose questions need to be answered and they know exactly what to ask. Without the presence of LHY and Dr LWL in Parliament, it’s difficult to envision how the siblings can thrash things out once and for all.

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PM LEE’S POSITION UNTENABLE

Anyone else who makes such an attack on the Prime Minister and his government would see a swift rebuttal and legal letters served on him. The least one would receive would be a cease and desist letter from the Attorney General’s Chambers, along with threats of defamation suits from the Prime Minister’s personal lawyers. Yet, despite the continuing and frequent new allegations which seem to emerge every other day from the Lee siblings, nothing much has been done by way of conclusively addressing them, to uphold the integrity of our public institutions.

Instead, what we are promised is a parliamentary sitting on 3 July, where the PM said he will deliver a ministerial statement on the matter. Why Parliament? Dr Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang will not be there to offer their side of the story. Neither will the Attorney General, Lucien Wong, whose appointment to the position has been questioned. Nor would Ms Lee Suet Fern, Lee Hsien Yang’s wife, whose role in the making of Lee Kuan Yew’s Last Will is described as “troubling” by Lee Hsien Loong. In short, 3 July will be nothing more than a backslapping fest of PAP MPs pledging support for PM Lee. It will not resolve the very serious allegations made, allegations which can only be dismissed through an independent inquiry, such as a Select Committee or a Commission of Inquiry.

In fact, is it not for precisely such a situation that the Elected President (EP) scheme was created – to preserve the integrity of government? The EP is endowed with certain executive powers, one of which is the power to instruct the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) to carry out an investigation, if the PM refuses to order one.

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Tan Jee Say to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of The Republic of Singapore

As President, you have the specific duty of safeguarding the integrity of the public service, and it is incumbent on you to get to the bottom of all this, to establish the facts and if true, hold those responsible fully accountable and put into place means and measures to ensure that no one can abuse his or her public position for private gain without the most severe punishment meted out to him or her.

As this is a matter of grave public concern, it is absolutely vital that you direct this inquiry to be conducted by way of open public hearings so as to ensure public confidence that nothing will be swept under the carpet and that every relevant detail will be examined.

This issue is of extreme urgency and the inquiry should be conducted soonest possible. As this matter takes place under your watch, you cannot simply pass the buck to the next President as you still have more than two months left of your presidential term of office. A period of two months is more than sufficient for this inquiry to be conducted and completed in good order as our public service is well-known for its efficiency.

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Allegations from my siblings 'mostly inaccurate': PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Jun 27) said the allegations that his siblings continue to make about him are "mostly inaccurate".

In response to media queries on the Facebook posts from his brother & sister, PM Lee said: "My siblings continue to make allegations about what I supposedly did or did not do. They are mostly inaccurate. As I earlier said, I will be making a statement in Parliament on Jul 3, 2017. I will at that time deal with the allegations that need to be addressed."

PM Lee & his siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling, have been locked in a public spat over their late father Lee Kuan Yew's home at 38 Oxley Road.

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PSD polling public service officers on 38 Oxley Road dispute

The Public Service Division (PSD) on Tuesday (Jun 27) confirmed that it is polling public officers on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's dispute with his siblings over the late Lee Kuan Yew's house at 38 Oxley Road, saying that the allegations went "beyond private matters".

The PSD, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office, said it was doing so to "understand their sentiments".

"On the issue of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s dispute with his siblings, the allegations made go beyond private matters & extend to the conduct & integrity of the Government & our public institutions," the PSD said in a response to Channel NewsAsia.

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WILL PSD POLL FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS ON 38 OXLEY ROAD DISPUTE BE MADE PUBLIC?

I refer to the article “PSD polling public officers on Oxley Road spat as allegations involve integrity of public sector” (Straits Times, Jun 28).

It states that “The Public Service Division (PSD) is polling public officers about the ongoing spat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, as the accusations involve the integrity of the public sector. The PSD said in a statement on Tuesday (June 28) that “the allegations made go beyond private matters and extend to the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions”.

Since we are talking about “the conduct and integrity of the Government and our public institutions” – can the PSD address the following questions:-
  • Who made the decision to conduct the poll?
  • Is the Prime Minister and the head of the civil service aware that the poll is being conducted?
  • What is the PSD’s understanding of “conflict of interest” since the PSD is in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)?
  • Will the results of the poll be made public?
  • To whom will the results of the poll be reported to?

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FamiLEE saga: Will parliament session end saga?

In the previous case, there was a gatekeeper, which was PM Goh. So, there was someone who could say he had the matter scrutinized, draw a line and declare it closed. There was also no one who could put up a meaningful challenge on the matter, since the allegations were “rumours’’ without a source. In this case, we have two high-profile individuals who do not mince their words.

A parliamentary session will not be as definitive as a court case because it cannot make judgments of guilt or innocence. Perhaps, the debate will be framed in the form of a motion which MPs can vote for or against or abstain, especially since the PAP whip is lifted.

It’s not likely though that matter will end with talk in Parliament. Some action will still need to be taken, like what to do about the house.

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Oxley Rd dispute: House debate will clear the air, say MPs, political watchers

Political commentator Derek da Cunha, meanwhile, suggested a live telecast of PM Lee's ministerial statement & the Parliament debate.

He added, though, that even a parliamentary debate "might not see an end to the matter".

He said: "It is entirely possible that we have seen only a small portion of the private correspondence that could be disclosed. I would not be surprised if, during the parliamentary debate, more correspondence is disclosed online."

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LEE HSIEN LOONG SHOULD HOLD OPEN PARLIAMENTARY ENQUIRY & SUMMON ALL PARTIES TO TESTIFY

Dear PM Lee, I refer to your "Ministerial Statement" made this evening to the grievous and serious charges made against not only yourself but that of State Institutions abusing powers and being corrupt! The announcement you made is not only hollow and lacking in substance but also full of motherhood statements that Singaporeans do not want to hear.

What Singapore really needs right now is what your late father, Mr LKY did each and every time an accusation was launched against him or his government which is, TO CALL AN OPEN PARLIAMENTARY ENQUIRY and not another meaningless Q&A Parliament Sitting. They're both very different in nature, function and structure! A Parliamentary Enquiry requires ALL who are involved in these serious allegations to come before Parliament and give evidence. Besides, all MPs are required to file their questions 1 week beforehand which gives ample time to tamper with or "construct" answers and that all the more makes people suspicious of your gestures.

You are in addition to a Parliamentary Enquiry, required to take Legal Action against those who perpetuated these series of allegations repeatedly, to demonstrate that absolutely no one is above the law! Otherwise, your selective actions against Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui will open you up to even more suspicions on who had advised you and whether the advise was properly conferred?

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Open official inquiry to clear up all doubts on Lee family saga?

More importantly, is PM Lee going to sue his siblings for defamation? Many before them have been bankrupted for saying far less! I am not suggesting that they be sued. All I am saying is that it shouldn’t be different rules for different folks because that would be acknowledging that cronyism does exist! Something that is bad for stability and government reputation!

Alternatively, is PM Lee’s government going to offer ratification and a full apology to those who have faced the defamation suit before? If he doesn’t take action against his siblings, he will run the risk of tacitly acknowledging that those before them have been wrongfully penalised. Again, something that affects government standing!

Most pressingly, gossip fodder aside, these allegations have raised a very serious issue – that of the misuse of state organs. How are we to tackle this? Should we not have an open official inquiry to get to the bottom of this

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PM Lee caught between a rock and a hard place
What would Lee Kuan Yew have done?

Lee Kuan Yew would never have let an accusation of nepotism or abuse of power for personal gain go unanswered. He would sue the pants whoever dared make any of those allegations. Former Senior Minister Prof S. Jayakumar once explained Lee Kuan Yew’s practice of defamation suits like this:
“He (Lee Kuan Yew) is prepared for a robust criticism of his policies. He can be criticised for foolishness, maybe even for incompetence, for arrogance, but his red line was — not on reputation and integrity. So whether it’s opposition politician or any other source, if you allege his integrity, say corruption for example, he would want to demonstrate that that is a red line … He’s prepared to justify his record… (he wanted) establish a threshold here that you have people of integrity, including himself, in government, in Cabinet and they are prepared to defend the integrity.”
Indeed, PM Lee is no stranger to initiating defamation suits. Take Roy Ngerng for example. Roy Ngerng wasn’t someone who was particularly influential nor were the things he wrote widely read. And even those who read his stuff take it with enough salt to give you instant kidney failure. Yet, PM Lee though it necessary to sue Roy Ngerng. Why? Because if PM hadn’t done so, then there is a possibility that some foreign institutions (e.g. governments, MNCs) may actually believe that there is a nugget, however small, of truth in what Roy Ngerng had said.

And now, we have two of Lee Kuan Yew’s children accusing his eldest child, who also happens to be the Prime Minister of Singapore, of nepotism and abusing power for personal gain. PM Lee’s siblings are far more influential than Roy Ngerng. Surely their allegations must be met with an equally, if not more, robust response than Roy Ngerng’s. Surely, if we applied the same principle that Lee Kuan Yew held in similar instances, PM Lee needs to act decisively to publicly prove that those allegations are baseless.

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Should Roy Ngerng seek a refund for defamation damages paid to PM Lee?

A lingering question that some may have with the ongoing Lee family saga on social media is whether Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the current Prime Minister of Singapore, will sue his two siblings for making “unfortunate allegations” of him and the “absurd claim” that the PM has political ambitions for his son, Lee Hong Yi. Mr Lee Hsien Yang has even alleged that Ms Ho Ching, wife of PM Lee committed theft by taking documents of late Lee Kuan Yew when he was hospitalised.

Political leaders from the People’s Action Party are known for filing defamation suits against critics, especially political opponents who make allegations. PAP leaders have stated that it is a must for allegers to be sued so that their accusations can be disproven in court.

In 1999, when former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong was asked about his response to those who claim that the judiciary was used to silence critics. He replied:
“That’s nonsense. What are these critics? There are many critics of the PAP in Singapore. They are not all hauled up before the judiciary. Political opponents, so long as they keep within the law, don’t need safeguards. They do not have to appear before the judiciary. But if they’ve defamed us, we have to sue them — because if we don’t, our own integrity will be suspect. We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet. By defamation, I mean if somebody says the minister is on the take or is less than honest. If he does not rebut it, if he does not dare go before the court to be interrogated by the counsel for the other side, there must be some truth in it. If there is no evidence, well, why are you not suing?”
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Barraged by allegations, Lee vows transparency
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with his son Li Hongyi. Hongyi is now deputy director of the Government Digital Services Data Science Division of the Goverment Technology Agency of Singapore, a statutory board under the Prime Minister's office.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with his son Li Hongyi. Photo: AFP Forum

Although Lee Hsien Loong framed the parliamentary session as an open method of providing Singaporeans with an honest accounting of the situation, Ortmann believes that it will more likely be an exercise in damage control for the long-ruling PAP.

“In Singapore, the PAP has created an image of near infallibility which is used as an argument why you should vote for it and not another party. If the prime minister is viewed as negatively, it hurts the party,” Ortmann said.

“I believe the MPs will ask questions that are favorable to the [Prime Minister] and suggest that he has done all he could do. Also, I believe it will suggest that this is primarily a family affair that got out of hand and now will be resolved clearly. Any questions related to governance will be dealt with as they usually do: with clear denials.”

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34 pertinent questions for Prime Minister Lee to answer on 3 July

PM Lee Hsien Loong in a statement yesterday, urged Members of Parliament from both sides of the House to examine the issues thoroughly and to question him and his Cabinet colleagues vigorously.

ST reported that MPs such as Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo, said they would canvass views from grassroots leaders and residents so that they can reflect them in Parliament.

“Citizens should also encourage their MPs – PAP or non-PAP – to speak on their behalf and raise tough questions,” said Mr Choo. In this connection, some of my friends have asked me to collate and pen down their suggested questions:
  • Since 38 Oxley Road was bequeathed to Lee Hsien Loong – why didn’t you just hold on to the title of the house, and wait to demolish it, when Lee Wei Ling is no longer living there, as per your father’s wishes?
  • Why was there a need for you to offer to transfer the house to Lee Wei Ling?
  • What exactly were the terms and conditions of your offer to transfer the house to Lee Wei Ling for $1 – which she did not accept?
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CPIB Must Investigate Allegations Made By The PM’s Siblings

Cherian George made an insightful observation – ‘ Many people were predicting a split in the PAP after Lee Kuan Yew’s death, few expected the split to come from his family!‘ On a wet rainy Wednesday morning, Singaporeans woke up to a bombshell – Open warfare between the Prime Minister and his 2 siblings! And the attack was classic PAP play too. Catch the opponents off guard and when unable to muster a quick counter-strike. A middle of the night Facebook post entitled ‘What happened to Lee Kuan Yew’s values?‘ and posted whilst the PM was on holiday.

I believe many will be covering this saga and dissecting each and every word, sentence, paragraph and all the allegations therein. I will leave both sides to continue with this task, although I had a good chuckle reading the inept attempts by the PAP idol worship Facebook page, ‘Fabrications about the PAP, to try and defend the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong by attacking the credibility of his 2 siblings – Dr Lee Wei Ling (sister) and Lee Hsien Yang (brother).

Some of their commentators even tried to sully Dr Lee by alleging that the whole affair was her work alone and she dragged Hsien Yang into it. It’s Hsien Yang after all who said he doesn’t feel safe in Singapore anymore. Perhaps they should check the credentials of the 2. Both highly educated, Dr Lee is/was a top neurosurgeon (I believe she headed the institute), while he was a Brigadier-General in the Army, and headed 2 top statutory boards. And both WERE children of LKY and his wife. They have a better insight than anybody else about the mind-set and workings of the family.

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The CPIB' must now live up to its motto and act swiftly and very surely

It's therefore incumbent on the CPIB to investigate this matter thoroughly to either dispel or confirm these allegations. Since the CPIB comes under the Prime Minister's Office, this is where the powers of the Elected Presidency should be called upon. The PM must recuse himself from this investigation or the CPIB should instead of reporting to him, report to the President for directions.

Both the siblings should be asked to provide further statements into the matter and the allegation of using state organs against them. All Permanent Secretaries and relevant agency heads should be questioned as to whether Ho Ching has had dealings with them and in what capacity. We have heard a lot of talk of the high standards and levels of independence that the CPIB has when investigation corruption. There can be no greater proof and test of this, than the ability of the bureau to investigate the very pinnacle of executive power. When allegations are made from credible persons who have personal interactions with the Chief Executive about his conduct and that of his wife, who should not wield any executive power.

This is the litmus test of our system of government. This is the moment of truth about how seriously we take allegations of corruption and impropriety by our elected and non elected officials. The ball is now clearly in CPIB's hands. No statements by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet or the Attorney General can explain this away. The only action required is a thorough and independent investigation into these serious allegations so that we can get to the bottom of this. We await with baited breath.

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Zul Al Yusouf · Co-founder at Soleil Pâtissiére


If all the allegations are wrong, please sue them in court. Bringing the case, as the PM has mentioned as private affair, to parliament is wrong. Bringing in the other ministers to allow them making remarks is another wrong thing to do. They should be remain neutral as this is none of their concerns, it's between the siblings. I say enough of this drama. Just settle it in court. There are better things to worry such as minimum wages, our cpf, our HDB homes where we are co-tenant but we pay property tax while we are not owners, etc. The country has other issues than this house.

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PAP sues opponents 'until your pants drop': Low Thia Khiang

The People’s Action Party may be seen as exercising double standards if Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong does not sue his siblings over their allegations of abuse of power, said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang.

“By using family, does this not also show that blood is thicker than water? Own siblings cannot sue… but political opponents and critics, sue until your pants drop,” said the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament on Tuesday (4 July).

“I wonder whether the PM is not worrying that the PAP as a ruling party will be seen as (practising) double standards,” he added.

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To Sue or Not to Sue: Defamation & Double Standards in Singapore’s Family Feud



Singapore has a reputation as a rules-based society, where no one can be above the law. It’s a mantra that has been repeated time and time again, a crucial part of the country’s reputation as a place where everything is above board and done right.

These days, this image is getting a little harder to maintain, particularly with the recent Lee family feud. Over the past two weeks Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s younger siblings, Lee Wei Ling and Lee Hsien Yang, have doggedly posted accusations against their big brother on their Facebook pages. They’ve alleged abuses of power, nepotism and favoritism – all claims that Singaporeans would usually hesitate to utter, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of crippling defamation suits. That, after all, is the usual reaction of politicians like Lee Hsien Loong. Lee himself acknowledged this in Parliament on Monday, when he said in his ministerial statement.

One can sympathise with the unpleasantness of having to resort to legal action with one’s own relatives, but the hypocrisy of Lee’s statement was simply too blatant to escape attention. It was best put by Low Thia Khiang, leader of the opposition, in Parliament the next day. The situation was then exacerbated by the response of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who dismissed Low’s speech as “political sophistry," then said, “And as for Tang Liang Hong, he’s not my brother.”

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Will a parliamentary hearing make Singapore PM's problems go away?

The parliamentary meeting on July 3 will be an opportunity for Lee to clear his name, but in doing so he will have no choice to throw light on a number of issues that have unsettled many Singaporeans, including:
  • Was there a conspiracy to get Lee Kuan Yew to reinstate the clause to demolish the house?
  • Why was a ministerial committee appointed to look into options for the property with Lee's siblings and the public being kept out of the loop?
  • Was there any conflict of interest in the appointing of Lee's lawyer in the property, 63-year-old Lucien Wong, to replace 60-year-old V K Rajah as attorney general?
The edifice Lee Kuan Yew built and nurtured is crumbling. It is the responsibility of the prime minister to make sure it remains intact.

It remains to be seen whether MPs will ask the tough questions necessary to elicit hard truths from the prime minister, and what his siblings' next moves will be.

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Singapore PM's Family Feud Reveals Rise of the 'First Lady'

On April 15, 2010, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was interviewed by Charlie Rose on American national television and declared without reservation that if anyone suggested that Singapore has a dynastic government – if there was any hint of nepotism – then he would sue them.

That was then. Seven years and two months later, on June 14, 2017, his own brother and sister (Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling) accused him of exactly that. He has not sued them, but his brother has said he will flee the country in fear of unspecified repercussions from his conflict with his brother. They accuse him not only of having dynastic ambitions for his son, Li Hongyi, but also of abusing his power as prime minister in his effort to "advance his personal agenda" and of cowering the local press into timid silence.

The tipping point of the dispute is the last will and testament of the family patriarch, Lee Kuan Yew, who died on 23 March 2015. The specific point of dispute is disposal of the family home: Lee Kuan Yew wanted it bulldozed; Lee Hsien Loong wants it preserved and heritage listed. More to the point, he is accused of using the power of Cabinet and his Attorney-General (formerly his personal solicitor) to make it so. (Last week Cabinet Secretary Tan Kee Yong confirmed Cabinet had set up an internal ministerial committee to consider the options for the house but PM Lee had not been involved in the committee's discussions.) The PM's younger siblings have enlisted the power of Facebook and the foreign media (bypassing the Singapore press) to stop him.

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LEE FAMILY SPAT: HO CHING INSTRUCTED SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS WHEN SHE HAS NO OFFICIAL POSITION IN GOVT

Singapore has no such thing as the wife of the prime minister being a ‘first lady’. Lee Kuan Yew was Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. During those many years, his wife (our mother) consistently avoided the limelight, remaining his stalwart supporter and advisor in private.

She lived discreetly, and set a high bar for the conduct of a prime minister’s wife. She would never instruct Permanent Secretaries or senior civil servants.

The contrast between her and Ho Ching could not be more stark. While Ho Ching holds no elected or official position in government, her influence is pervasive, and extends well beyond her job purview.

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Singapore Lee Family Feud Goes Public on Facebook: QuickTake Q&A
The house at 38 Oxley Road, the residence of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.Photographer:Wallace Woon/EPA

Singapore is a small but wealthy Southeast Asian island state with a reputation for order and control. So imagine the dismay when its most famous family gets involved in a very public feud -- on Facebook. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his two younger siblings are embroiled in a spat that centers on the fate of the house that belonged to their late father, the country’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. It marks a rare public display of acrimony from a family that’s been at the forefront of Singapore’s establishment since its independence in 1965 -- a family that largely kept private any discord before the elder Lee’s death in 2015:
  • What’s the spat about?
  • Who are the protagonists?
  • What about keeping disputes in the family?
  • What does PM Lee say?
  • What’s the significance of the house?
  • What do we know about the committee?
  • Is anyone else involved?
  • What impact has the spat had on Singapore politics?
  • What about markets?
  • Could the environment change?
  • What about Singapore’s image?

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Why the feud among Singapore’s elite isn’t really about Lee Kuan Yew’s house
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching attend a wreath laying at the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam 23 March 2017.

The situation casts a harsh spotlight on the entangled relationships among Singapore’s ruling elite. It raises the possibility of abuse of power, ignoring the rule of law, and overstepping legal bounds by the people at the apex of Singapore society. That’s especially problematic because Singapore prides itself on its meritocracy, clean government, and scrupulous adherence to the law. Lee Kuan Yew himself was the chief architect of that brand.

The senior Lee had explained his son’s ascendance to the prime minister’s job as the product of Singapore’s merit-based system—not favoritism. Here he is in 2005, in his book, “The Wit and Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew“: “We run a meritocracy. If the Lee family sets an example of nepotism, that system collapses. If I were not the prime minister, he [Lee Hsien Loong] could have become prime minister several years earlier.” In another interview, he likened Hsien Loong’s mind to a capacious computer hard drive, and said that is one of the reasons his son is the most capable to lead the country.

The prime minister will need all the computing power he can muster to explain to parliament on July 3 what has happened to those much-touted boundaries between family obligations, legal duties, and state roles. There he will address the allegations made by his siblings, and try to explain the argument over the house. He has invited lawmakers—the great majority belonging to the party he leads—to question him freely then.

related: Spore’s elite are feuding publicly on FB to bypass its state-controlled press

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Fall of House of Lees in Singapore

To be sure, modern-founder Lee never remotely claimed to have created utopia in the actual – but in ambitious thrust he tried, as did so many hard-working Singaporeans he carried with him to transform a Third World backwater into a First World city-state. Yet about this we would joke – relaxed, he was very witty – with my once suggesting that if Singapore were utopia, then its citizens had to be Martians, not human beings. This remark somehow got to him, but then he smilingly acknowledged: "That's right, we're not Martians!"

Judging from the Lee family rift that has now just surfaced, it looks as if the Singapore elite is more earth-bound than ever suspected. From the prime minister – LKY's son, in office since 2004 – to his thoughtful daughter, a brilliant neurologist, this near-utopia today looks creepy-swampy with back-stabbing and name-calling. On the surface the unseemly divisiveness focuses mainly over the late founder's last will, and his wish for the modest home of his last 70 years demolished, not glorified into some Chinese Mount Rushmore (Singapore itself being the monument). I believe that this was in fact his last wish, and feel as does a former colleague and current lady resident of Hong Kong who is also a devoted Singapore-watcher: "I'm shocked. I feel sorry for LKY."

His surviving children and their inner circle need to consider whether their public quarrel behooves their founding father. Having inherited a magnificent mantle, they should be ashamed for permitting the dirty family laundry of jealousy and ego from entering the otherwise commendably clean public domain of their Singapore. Once, at the end of an exhausting day, LKY was asked whether the political system might finally ‘loosen up, as many have conjectured', after he had ‘gone to Marx', as is sometimes put the atheist's option: "It is for the present and future generations of leader to modify and adjust the system…." That time has come for the present generation to do just that. If it cannot handle what has been given, they should humbly hand it off to others who might preserve it with more class.

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IF HSIEN LOONG CAN’T HANDLE HIS SIBLINGS, CAN HE RUN A NATION

The bitter family feud over the estate of Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew will affect Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s credibility at home, but is unlikely to cast a shadow over his dealings with China, mainland observers and state media said on Tuesday.

 Citing Confucian beliefs, experts questioned the incumbent leader’s ability to manage a nation when, as the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, he appears unable to settle his family dispute. Leaders urge Lee Kuan Yew’s children to end public bickering as more accusations fly Ju Hailong, a Southeast Asian affairs expert from Jinan University, said the saga might well hamper Lee’s political ambitions.

“This will definitely affect his political base, as ethnic Chinese hold the value that if a person cannot handle his family well then he loses the ability to run a country,” he said.

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Perhaps the most startling and truly new development is the emergence of the importance of Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching

We already knew she was powerful as the CEO and director of Temasek Holdings, which is the holding company for the massive network of government-linked companies that dominate the Singapore economy. From the glimpse of the inside-family politics this episode has provided, it is now clear that she has power far beyond this role. There are 12 separate mentions of Ho Ching as a player in the public statement released by Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling a week ago but the critical one is here. We still have no substantive basis to judge how far her power extends either in government per se or over her husband, but from now on, people will assume her power is ubiquitous.

The second significant revelation is the first airing by anyone in the ruling elite of the political ambitions of Li Hongyi, Lee Hsien Loong’s and Ho Ching’s son. His ambition had been well known for many years, and it was fairly obvious to anyone who followed the Lee family closely that he had been busy building a CV that would provide him entry to politics, but barely a whisper of this had been translated into print. Certainly, no journalist had gone near the story and even foreign academics like myself have been circumspect. Li Hongyi has denied any such ambition (well he would, wouldn’t he?) but now the story is out, and it is out in a way that cannot do anything but hurt his ambitions.

The third major consequence is the continued degradation of the Lee Hsien Loong brand and, by consequence, the Lee family brand. Lee Hsien Loong has never been as revered as his father and the events of the last week are likely to have further damaged him. It would be different if his period as prime minister had been a litany of successes and achievements, but it has been far from a success. During the 13 years that Lee Hsien Loong has been prime minister, government in Singapore has been unambiguously ordinary. There have been large anti-government rallies, the worse election result for the government since independence, and a series of spectacular administrative failures. He famously saved the 2011 General Elections for the government by apologizing for all the things the government had done wrong. This is definitely not the way to enhance a brand nor the way to build a dynasty. It is not even a good way to run a country.

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Wait a minute, PM Lee’s lifting of Party Whip doesn’t make sense

Basically, PM Lee did not have to explicitly lift the Party Whip because no bill is going to be voted on.

This view is by Alex Au, one of Singapore’s pioneering blogfathers, who is now better known for his work helping transient workers in Singapore.

He has pointed out that the deliberate announcement to lift the PAP whip goes against the essence of a parliamentary democracy, where MPs ought to be able to speak and debate freely and fiercely in the first place, as they represent the interests of their constituents.

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Alex Waipang Au 5 hrs

What on earth does PM Lee mean when he says he is "lifting the whip" for the parliamentary sitting on 3 July? Lifting the whip is only for voting on bills. In this case, no bill is under consideration. He's just planning to make a statement.

If he means that PAP members of parliament will be free to ask any question or make any comment they wish, then it has always been their right as MPs whether or not the whip is lifted.

This simply goes to show that the PAP does not ordinarily allow its MPs to ask any question or make any comment they deem appropriate in parliament UNLESS the PM says (in a misuse of the term) the whip is lifted.

More and more, parliamentary democracy is being corrupted.

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PM Lee’s Lifting of the Party Whip Raises Questions about Parliamentary Democracy
redwire-singapore-lee-hsien-loong-ho-ching-house-visit-82

A key role of the Party Whip (Maj-Gen “Kee Chiu” Chan Chun Sing) is to make sure party members toe the party line and vote on bills in line with the party’s position (as with all other Party Whips across the world). To lift the whip on questions (not to directly lift up “Kee Chiu” lah, but to allow PAP MPs to ask questions according as their conscience dictates) raises the issue of how robust exactly are issues being raised in parliament.

Parliament is the place where MPs are supposed to raise issues regarding governance, or concerns regarding their constituents. They are supposed to debate fiercely and freely for the sake of the nation and the people they represent. So now, what does it say when PM Lee says MPs and Cabinet ministers are urged to vigorously question him as the Party Whip has been lifted.

The prime minister should not be allowed to dictate when MPs get to ask tough questions in parliament. Otherwise, what is “parliamentary democracy” worth?

related: The Workers’ Party Shares How it Plans to Grill PM Lee Hsien Loong over Abuse of Power Allegations

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Tan Jee Say shared Lee Hsien Yang's post 17 June at 00:30

Dear President, Public Inquiry into Allegations of Interference with the Integrity of Singapore's Public Service.

Singaporeans are disturbed by many things said in the Public Statement of Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang entitled "What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?" and released three days ago on 14 June 2017 (attached herewith https://goo.gl/G71SrX).

In this letter to you as President of Singapore, I will dwell on one particular aspect that is pertinent to your key role of safeguarding the integrity of the public service.


Workers' Party concerned with allegations of abuse of power over 38 Oxley Road dispute

The Workers' Party said it is of the view that the crux of the dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings over the 38 Oxley Road home should be resolved by the family privately or in court.

"We are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions," said the opposition party in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Jun 20).

As such, six WP members have filed several parliamentary questions "to help clear the air" on the allegations against PM Lee, who had invited all Members of Parliament to vigorously question him and the Cabinet on the matter when Parliament sits on Jul 3. 

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Workers' Party says concerned about allegations against PM Lee, files Parliamentary questions

Breaking its silence on the Oxley Road dispute between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings, the opposition Workers' Party (WP) said on Tuesday (June 20) that it was "concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions".

The party's Members of Parliament have filed several Parliamentary questions "to help clear the air", WP said in a Facebook post. They will ask, among other things, whether the Government will agree to set up a bi-partisan Special Select Committee of Parliament that would examine the allegations against PM Lee, and allow his accusers - Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang - to present their evidence to Parliament.

"The Workers' Party believes the crux of the family issues surrounding 38 Oxley Road is for the family to resolve privately or in Court. We are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions," WP said in its Facebook post.
Workers’ Party to ask hard questions of PM Lee and his Cabinet regarding the Oxley-squabble

The Workers’ Party said in a statement released earlier today that it believes the crux of the family issues surrounding 38 Oxley Road is for the family to resolve privately or in Court, and that they are are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions.

The WP was responding to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s post yesterday that he would address the accusations levelled by his siblings in parliament on 3rd July. WP MPs have filed the following parliamentary questions to help clear the air on the allegations.

Lee Hsien Loong's personal lawyer, Lucien Wong

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Workers’ Party to ask PM Lee a lot of questions in Parliament about Lee family tussle

The Workers’ Party has put up a Facebook post listing the questions their members of parliament will be asking in the July 3 sitting.

Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim, Png Eng Huat, Chen Show Mao and Leon Perera will be directing questions to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, while Daniel Goh will be asking Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, questions relating to the issue of Deeds of Gifts.

related:
Lee Hsien Loong's personal lawyer, Lucien Wong

The Workers' Party 2 hrs

The Workers' Party believes the crux of the family issues surrounding 38 Oxley Road is for the family to resolve privately or in Court. We are only concerned with the allegations of abuse of power and the harm these have caused to confidence in Singapore and our political institutions. WP MPs have filed the following parliamentary questions to help clear the air on the allegations

Pritam Singh: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government would consent to a resolution to convene a Special Select Committee of Parliament, comprising Members from all parties, with public hearings that are broadcast live to look into allegations of abuse of power by the Prime Minister made by members of his family so as to allow his accusers to present all the relevant evidence to Parliament

Sylvia Lim: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what rules are in place to ensure that Ministers and senior public office-holders with personal or pecuniary interests in the subject-matter of government decisions do not influence or participate in the related deliberations and decision-making, and how are the rules enforced; (b) as regards government opinions or decisions relating to the estate and assets of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, what conflicts or potential conflicts of interest did the government identify to exist from among the members of the Cabinet and with regard to the Attorney-General; (c) how these conflicts or potential conflicts of interest were or are being managed

PNG ENG HUAT: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what clear rules and directives are in place to prevent Ministers and other political appointees from abusing their positions to access, influence and direct senior civil servants on matters beyond their professional course of work; and (b) how often are these rules and directives communicated to the senior civil servants and in what form

Chen Show Mao: To ask the Prime Minister what mechanisms are in place to prevent, limit, detect, and address situations where ministers or other political appointees use state organs to obtain information not related to the performance of their duties, advance personal interests or punish detractors, critics, or political opponents

Chen Show Mao: To ask the Prime Minister when should a minister or political appointee go to court to defend his or her reputation and when should he or she refrain from private litigation and seek instead to address such allegations publicly, such as in Parliament

Leon Perera: To ask the Prime Minister (a) under what circumstances Ministerial committees whose existence is not made public are convened to address issues; (b) how many of such committees exist and can their terms of reference and composition be publicly announced unless forbidden by national security concerns: (c) in the case of the Ministerial committee reviewing the fate of No 38 Oxley Road, will independent heritage experts and processes for public opinion sensing be engaged by the committee

Daniel Goh 吴佩松: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether Deeds of Gifts executed with the National Heritage Board may be shared with third persons, and if so, under what circumstances they may be shared, (b) whether the Deed of Gift of items from 38 Oxley Road was protected by a confidentiality clause, and if so, why did the Board release the Deed to the Prime Minister

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The Lees of Singapore

It is no secret that a dynasty has emerged as the ruling force in Singapore. The Lee family (of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) is referred to as ‘the first family’ as a matter of routine in private conversation, though not usually in public. Power has already passed from father to son and now there is a generation of high-flying grandsons in the wings.

This article traces the establishment and consolidation of the Lee dynasty from the point in the early 1980s when Lee Kuan Yew emerged as the centre of all the significant power networks in Singapore, through to the consolidation of power in the hands of his son, Lee Hsien Loong, in 2011. In the process of doing this, it argues that despite official rhetoric that says that the country runs on the talent of the best and most talented men and women in the country, and the closely related myth that professionalism provides the basis of governance, the reality is that of rule by a family-based clique of confidantes and relatives.

There is a strong element of reality to both myths, but both elements are ultimately subordinated to and in the service of the forces of consanguineous and personal networks.

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Lee Hsien Yang defends final will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, says his father gave 'express instruction' to revert to first version
Mr Lee Hsien Yang said his father gave "express instruction" for the last will to follow the first version. FOTO: ST FILE

More questions have emerged over the final will of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, after his younger son Hsien Yang asserted that his father gave "express instruction" for the last will to follow the first version.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (Jun 17), Mr Lee Hsien Yang wrote: "Lee Kuan Yew's final will in Dec 2013 was engrossed on the basis of his express instruction to revert to his first will from 2011."


He added that his father's final will "was simply Lee Kuan Yew's first will of Aug 20, 2011, re-executed on his instructions".

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Lee Kuan Yew's final will was simply his first will: Lee Hsien Yang
This general view shows the outside the house of Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Road / AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN

Addressing media queries on the late Lee Kuan Yew’s will, Lee Hsien Yang on Saturday insisted that his father’s final will was the result of the first Singapore prime minister’s instruction to revert to his first will.

In a Facebook post in the wee hours of Saturday (17 June), Lee Hsien Yang also said that his father acknowledged the demolition clause of the family home on 38 Oxley Road in the final will.

“Lee Kuan Yew read the final will carefully and initialled every page, including just below the demolition clause,” he said.

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Lee Hsien Yang June 17 at 1:46pm · LKY's Final Will
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Lee Hsien Yang June 17 at 1:29am · In response to media queries on the will:
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Lee Hsien Yang Yesterday at 7:57am

SMS Indranee Rajah asks "Why is the government being asked to demolish the house now?" We have never asked the Government to allow us to demolish the house now, only after Wei Ling's departure.

In turn, we ask "Why was a secret committee on the house formed in 2016?" On 13 April 2015, PM Lee stated that since Wei Ling intended to continue living in the house, it was for the "government of the day" to decide.

Beyond the committee's opening letters, the committee was focussed primarily on parroting LHL's attacks on our father's will, and in particular, clause 7. (Just as SMS Indranee does now.) This was clearly an abuse of power by LHL.

SMS Indranee is pretending that the secret committee had an open discussion with Lee Kuan Yew's Estate about options for the house. Nothing could be further from the truth. The committee refused to state either the options it was considering or its final deliverable.

Long before the committee was formed, we offered to DPM Teo that the house be demolished after Wei Ling's departure, and a memorial garden be built in its place. DPM Teo was reluctant and did not pursue the discussion further. LHL also rejected this offer.

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Singaporeans weary of prime minister's family spat
Singaporean founding father Lee Kuan Yew, center, celebrates his 80th birthday in 2003. His children have become embroiled in a feud following his death in 2015. © Reuters

The siblings have continued to trade blows via Facebook, with no sign of a truce coming anytime soon. Many Singaporeans, unaware of what caused such distrust among the family in the first place, have started showing signs of weariness with the ongoing drama.

"Parliament is not a forum for siblings' disputes," an internet user believed to be Singaporean said in a comment on a local news website. Concerns have grown that the saga will drag on despite more pressing issues, such as the economy and the growing threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia. Han Fook Kwang, editor-at-large of the influential newspaper The Straits Times, said, "The family feud among the Lees is extremely damaging to Singapore."

The row has invited criticism from overseas, too. "The dispute between [the prime minister] and his siblings might challenge the stability of the country and bring pressure for political reform," wrote the Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party's English-language newspaper.

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LKY poked his nose into the business of others

Some Singaporeans posted responses to the prime minister’s statement on Facebook, urging him to sue his siblings for libel. Lee Hsien Yang says he is ready to face a lawsuit. He says the purpose of his statement was to make it harder to thwart his father’s wishes. But Lee Hsien Loong says it is his siblings’ airing of the family dispute that “has hurt our father’s legacy”.

In my view, what the dispute really hurts is his father’s sanctimony. He does not look holier than other people now. LKY poked his nose into the business of others, and tried to tell them what to do. He made it official policy for Singapore to sue opposition politicians and journalists who criticized him and his government with expensive lawsuits in his homecourt, in order to drive them to bankruptcy or to submission.

If Lee Hsien Loong sues his siblings to accomplish the same objective, he will drive Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy to disrepute and ridicule.

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Lee Hsien Loong 4 December 2015

My siblings, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and I have issued the following joint statement:
  • "To honour the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Lee Hsien Yang have each agreed to donate half the value of 38 Oxley Road to the charities named in the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's obituary notice.
  • Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang would like to honour the wish of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that the house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in it.
  • Mr Lee Hsien Loong has recused himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and, in his personal capacity, would also like to see this wish honoured.
  • Speaking as the children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling and Mr Lee Hsien Yang hope the government will allow the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish for the demolition of the house to be honoured and that all Singaporeans will support their cause." 

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Half the value of Oxley Road house to be donated to charity

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said on Facebook that he and his two other siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling would like to respect their father’s final wishes to demolish the Oxley Rd house.

Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, passed away on 23 March this year. The outpouring of grief by the young and old alike in Singapore was followed by calls to preserve the Oxley Road house which he lived in.

However, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew was always adamant about having the house demolished after his passing and should his daughter Dr Lee Wei Ling no longer lived in it. Mr Lee Kuan Yew wrote this in his will:
"I further declare that it is my wish, and the wish of my late wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (‘the House’) be demolished immediately after my death or, if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out. If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants. My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged. My statement of wishes in this paragraph 7 may be publicly disclosed notwithstanding that the rest of my Will is private."
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Lee Kuan Yew’s family to donate the value of Oxley Rd house to charity
PM Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Hsien Yang & Dr Lee Wei Ling reiterate their request that Singaporeans respect the wishes of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in March

"To honour the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong & Mr Lee Hsien Yang have each agreed to donate half the value of 38 Oxley Road to the charities named in the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's obituary notice," wrote PM Lee. "Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang would like to honour the wish of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew that the house at 38 Oxley Road be demolished after Dr Lee Wei Ling ceases to live in it.

"Mr Lee Hsien Loong has recused himself from all government decisions involving 38 Oxley Road and, in his personal capacity, would also like to see this wish honoured."

"Speaking as the children of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Lee Wei Ling & Mr Lee Hsien Yang hope the government will allow the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew's wish for the demolition of the house to be honoured & that all Singaporeans will support their cause."

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Lee Kuan Yew turning in his grave

A Filipino columnist for the Manila Times wrote that Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), the redoubtable Singaporean leader who had a penchant to hector other leaders and lecture the West about Asian values, must be turning in his grave.

He said while his – that is LKY – country is still up in the charts for sheer performance, the family he has left behind is being torn apart by a family feud. “His political dynasty may not be as cohesive or admirable as everyone supposed. “In my view, what the dispute really hurts is his father’s sanctimony. He does not look holier than other people now,” he wrote.

He said LKY poked his nose into the business of others, and tried to tell them what to do.

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"I will GET UP!"


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